American Composers Orchestra
Now in its 38th season, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world
dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American
composers. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new
American orchestral music its central purpose. Through concerts at Carnegie Hall and other
venues, recordings, internet and radio broadcasts, educational programs, New Music
Readings, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers; champions
prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known; and increases regional,
national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music,
reflecting geographic, stylistic, and temporal diversity. ACO also serves as an incubator
of ideas, research, and talent; as a catalyst for growth and change among orchestras; and
as an advocate for American composers and their music.
To date, ACO has performed music by more than 700 American composers, including nearly 300
world premieres and newly commissioned works. Among the orchestra's innovative programs
have been SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a nine-day citywide festival in New York of music
by more than 100 composers age 40 and under; Sonidos de las Américas, six annual festivals
devoted to Latin American composers and their music; Coming to America, a program immersing
audiences in the ongoing evolution of American music through the work of immigrant
composers; Orchestra Tech, a long-term initiative to integrate new digital technologies in
the symphony orchestra; Improvise!, a festival devoted to the exploration of improvisation
and the orchestra; coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe, a new laboratory for the research and
development of experimental new works for orchestra; and Orchestra Underground, ACO's
entrepreneurial cutting-edge orchestral ensemble that embraces new technology, eclectic
instruments, influences, and spatial orientation of the orchestra, new experiments in the
concert format, and multimedia and multidisciplinary collaborations.
Visit americancomposers.org for more information.
In his fifth season as music director of the American Composers
Orchestra, George Manahan has had a wide-ranging and esteemed career, embracing
everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the
contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO this season, Manahan continues his
commitment to working with young musicians as director of orchestral studies at the
Manhattan School of Music and as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. Portland Opera welcomed George Manahan as its music director in
Manahan served as music director at New York City Opera for 14 seasons. There he
helped envision the organization's groundbreaking VOX Contemporary Opera Lab, a
series of workshops and readings that provided unique opportunities for numerous composers
to hear their new concepts realized, and introduced audiences to exciting new compositional
voices. In addition to established composers such as Mark Adamo, David Del Tredici, Lewis
Spratlan, Robert X. Rodriguez, Lou Harrison, Bernard Rands, and Richard Danielpour, Manahan
has introduced works by composers on the rise, including Adam Silverman, Elodie Lauten,
Mason Bates, and David T. Little. Among his many world premieres are Charles Wuorinen's
Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang's modern painters, and the New
York premiere of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner.
In May 2011, Manahan was honored by ASCAP for his "career-long advocacy for American
composers and the music of our time." Last season, he was awarded the Alice M. Ditson
Conductor's Award for his outstanding commitment to the work of emerging composers.
Manahan's extensive recording activities include the premiere release of Steve Reich's
Tehillim for ECM, a Grammy-nominated recording of Edward Thomas's Desire Under
the Elms, Joe Jackson's Will Power, Tobias Picker's Emmeline, and
several digital albums of emerging composers with ACO.